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Mass arrival Bill should deal with facts

Darien Fenton
Labour Spokesperson

12 April 2013

Mass arrival Bill should deal with facts

The Government’s meddling with the definition of what constitutes a ‘mass arrival’ in its controversial Immigration Bill won’t fix the deeply flawed legislation, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Darien Fenton.

“Altering the definition of a mass arrival from 10 to 30 people won’t change anything. Instead, it aligns New Zealand with Australia’s punitive detention policies, which have been so destructive in that country.

“The government originally bandied around threats of hundreds of asylum seekers arriving by boat to justify its provisions for mass detention and the need for this bill, which is intended to deter people smugglers.

“Simply changing the definition of a mass arrival won’t do that.

“If anything, John Key is the one who has provided an incentive to people smugglers by raising the flag for asylum seekers in agreeing to take 150 of Australia’s refugees as part of our overall quota.

“Furthermore, the bill is based on National’s completely flawed premise that we are under the imminent threat of a mass arrival.

“In the past week, John Key said he was vindicated when a boat from Sri Lanka arrived in Western Australia, flying a New Zealand flag and holding a sign saying they wanted to come to New Zealand.

“He clearly doesn’t understand that an asylum seeker must request asylum at the earliest opportunity and it is impossible to arrive in one country and seek asylum in another.

“Anyone claiming they want to come to New Zealand via the Australian coast by boat cannot apply for asylum here and if they did, they become ineligible.

“The Government should focus on the facts, not fantasy, when dealing with such important legislation,” Darien Fenton said.

ENDS

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